Data boosts world stock index to new high; dollar falls

Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:12pm EST
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By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of major world equity markets inched higher to a record for a second straight day on Thursday, lifted by a round of global data, while a drop in the dollar helped boost U.S. bond prices.

MSCI's All-Country World index hit an intraday record of 444.94, although stocks on Wall Street dipped as the financial sector, down 0.1 percent, snapped a five-session winning streak and energy stocks slumped 1.4 percent.

In the United States, manufacturing activity in the Mid-Atlantic region surged to its highest in 33 years, housing data indicated a recovery in the sector was on track, and weekly jobless claims pointed to a labor market that continues to tighten.

Other data showed improvements in exports from Indonesia and Taiwan, and falling unemployment in Sweden and the Netherlands.

Still, U.S. equity indexes pulled back, with the benchmark S&P 500 snapping a seven-session winning streak, its longest winning streak in nearly four years.

"The fundamental view of investors has not changed. It’s merely profit-taking in the short term," said Jeff Kravetz, a Phoenix-based regional investment director of the Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank.

"If we got a really big selloff in the market, we would view that as a buying opportunity."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 7.91 points, or 0.04 percent, to end at 20,619.77, the S&P 500 lost 2.03 points, or 0.09 percent, to 2,347.22 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.54 points, or 0.08 percent, to 5,814.90.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid